Six months ago, when Portland's Migration Brewing announced a distribution deal with Columbia Distributing, co-owner McKean Banzer-Lausberg hinted that a second Migration location was in the works, one that would double their employee count and ramp up production to around 10,000 barrels a year.
That hint's more reality now, with news that Migration has signed a lease for 20,000 square feet of production and pub space in the underserved market of Gresham.
"It's kind of tough to beat," said Banzer-Lausberg, who co-founded the brewery in 2010 with his brother, Eric, Colin Rath and Mike Branes. "We like the proximity to our current location, the price-per-square-foot and it really opens up to the Gorge there. For people going to the mountain or on a hike in the Gorge, this will be pretty convenient."
Located at 18188 N.E. Wilkes Rd. in the Park I-84 industrial building, the new Migration facility will include 17,000 square feet of space for production and 3,000 for a brewpub. The brewery will install a 20-barrel brewing system, which will up Migration's capacity in a hurry. Banzer-Lausberg said the brewery is on track to produce 1,600 barrels this year from its existing location at Northeast 28th and Northeast Glisan; by 2020, it could be producing 10,000 barrels.
In addition to the new brewing system, Migration has also invested in a canning line.
The expanded capacity coincides with Migration's distribution deal with Columbia, which the two signed back in May. Banzer-Lausberg said Migration plans to expand both its draft market - its beers are already available as of last month in Washington, including at Sizzle Pie - and the cans should start to populate Columbia's Oregon, Washington and Vancouver, B.C. footprint in mid 2018.
"We still have a strong focus on the metro area," he said, "but we also want to supply our product to as much of those new areas as possible."
Brewing at the new facility will focus on Migration's bread-and-butter beers, including Straight Outta Portland IPA and Patio Pale Ale, but also branch out into more lagers and an expanded barrel aging line.
The new brewpub, which is expected to open in May, will have a walk-up service bar with 20 taps. There will be a full kitchen with a menu driven by pizzas and other brewpub fare. It will seat about 80 people. The facility has been approved for outdoor seating, but Bazer-Lausberg said that will come in a later phase.
The brewery is working with Portland architecture firm Koble Creative and the design-build contractor Deform NW on the new space. Josh Bean of Ethos Commercial Advisors represented Migration in the deal, while Steven Klein of Kidder Mathews represented the building owner, Lincoln Property Co.
Migration plans to hire close to 20 people for the new operation, which will kick up the total employee count to about 50 people.
Banzer-Lausberg said the Migration team worked closely with the city of Gresham on the new site, as the building sits within an economic development district that offers some property tax incentives. Financing for the expansion comes from Columbia Bank, but it was also backed by Business Oregon, with whom Migration is also working with to possibly export its beer to Australia and Japan.
Tenant improvement work on the new facility will kick off in December.
"It's just a cool place," Banzer-Lausberg said. "It feels really nice and it's a great fit for us."
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